Sample Sales Coverage: (Cont'd):  Fall Creek / Page 4

COMMENTS:

This story is an unusually thoughtful and sophisticated western which arouses us with its humane perspective, containing realistic characters who exist in a dangerous time, a conflict which pits neighbor against neighbor, and a moral theme which challenges the viewer’s perspective.

The premise of a man who struggles to convince others to act according to justice and not prejudice is a timely and always poignant one (similar to the detective’s struggle “In The Heat Of The Night”).  The theme of mercy is highlighted effectively and elevates this western above many of its precursors of the same genre.  The Indians’ dilemma with the encroaching white man, along with the depiction of their race’s inherent pride, wisdom, and gentleness, is clearly portrayed, bringing to mind the same characteristics found in the Indians of “Dances With Wolves.”  The same emotional empathy we felt towards the tribe of the aforementioned film we feel towards the Indians of this story.

The opening shows the innocent, unprejudiced friendship of two boys from two different races that are at odds with each other, setting the stage immediately for a conflict which takes place in a mysterious and ominous milieu.  The underlying tension, which is craftily maneuvered by the employment of false scares followed by real scares and last minute rescues, takes hold of us and never lets go until the conclusion.  The moral timbre of the piece is presented initially by the teachings of the spiritual leader of the Indian tribe.  Clasby’s entrance, reminiscent of the Greek Chorus or a messenger in a Shakespearean play, is a harbinger of the doom to come, immediately enlisting us as vigilant observers.  Tensions are layered upon tensions as the subplots thicken.  A dark character (Clasby) is strategically established as the overshadowing ominous presence which is always prepared to pounce (just as the wolf is in the story) adding to our discomfiture.  Our angst is not prolonged to an excruciating degree because we are relieved by the second act midpoint to be able to side with and be comforted by justice’s swift sword and equilibrating scales, although it is a justice which takes a discerning eye for the mercurial situation.  Tension is also relieved by the insertion of humorous moments (which are brought about mostly by enjoying the Indian’s perspective of the white man’s world).  

The author also keeps us on our emotional toes by giving us intermittent shocks as we realize how primitive the conditions were back in those days of the early frontier.  When the inciting incident occurs, even though we have been warned, we are still startled by its sudden arrival.  The author’s choice of not showing the massacre of the Indians and only having characters allude to it is extremely effective because no visual rendition could match our imaginations in picturing such an atrocity.  The fact that the Indian child, who was taught the way of peace, is slaughtered deeply saddens us, causing us to sympathize even more profusely with the victims of the outrageous attack, and it also announces that we have reached a point-of-no-return in the story.  In such a short time, the author skillfully gains our concern for the plight of the Indians.  The torch of courage is handed off throughout the piece from one character to another, allowing us to focus more fully on more than one character as holder of the flame of good.  The author seduces us into thinking the story is going to head in one direction, but instead, redirects it, giving it a surprising turn.  A parallel is cleverly indicated between Caleb and Black Antler, both being the spiritual leaders of their respective clans.  The legal proceedings are intriguing as they expose us to myriad perspectives of the men who committed the violence, thus providing variety, and being fraught with conflict, argumentation, and unpredicted moments.  The jury deliberation also engages us as we look into the hearts of agonized men with a difficult decision to make.  The appearances of the Indians progressively proclaim a quiet strength and compassion, which reflexively touches us.

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